On The Journey, Judy Bowman


We had enjoyed our morning at the museum whose special exhibition of Italian painting and sculpture was both beautiful and moving. It was a bit crowded, but folks moved along pretty easily, listening to their headphones describing the artists and their works. We were about two-thirds of the way through the exhibit when we found ourselves just behind a trio of teenaged girls. Instead of headphones, they talked quietly among themselves at each new painting or sculpture. It was refreshing seeing them so interested in the art in front of them. We moved into a large gallery with several groupings of statues. I watched as the girls approached a life-sized model of the Virgin Mary with her arms raised in blessing. I looked in my guidebook for some info on the artist and overheard one of the young ladies say, “That’s a weird-looking Statue of Liberty!” Her two friends agreed with her and they quickly moved on to the next group of works. What??? The Statue of Liberty? How could they not recognize the most iconic woman in the history of the world?

As a Catholic, the Virgin Mary is a central figure in the story of salvation. She is the pure handmaid of the Lord, chosen by God to be His own mother. Who can understand that? She’s the Virgin who is also the Mother, as well. Who can comprehend that? She’s the Queen of Heaven, given to me as my own mother, by her Son and Savior as He hung on the Cross. And yet, these girls can’t recognize her. I realized that their lack of knowledge shouldn’t surprise me. For the majority of non-Catholics, the Virgin Mary isn’t just unfamiliar—she’s invisible.

Raised in the Baptist church, I remember our simple Christmas play. Each year some young girl would silently kneel by a manger with a doll in it while other children sang carols. That was the extent of the Blessed Virgin’s role in my faith formation. We weren’t taught about the Annunciation, or how she said “yes” to God’s plan for the Incarnation. I don’t think I really believed she was His mother, just a sort of caretaker. I didn’t know about her perpetual virginity, or her example of faith as Christ’s disciple I didn’t learn about Cana or that she was there at Pentecost. In fact, I’d never even thought of her keeping watch at the foot of the Cross, watching her beloved Son suffer and die for us. How could a good Southerner leave “Momma” out of the story? Unbelievable.

I’m sure some protestants downplay Mary because anything about her seems “too Catholic.” And there’s still quite a bit of anti-Catholic prejudice hanging on. Others believe that Catholics worship Mary or somehow believe she is a demi-god. We don’t and she isn’t. We don’t attribute anything to Mary that God Himself doesn’t give to her. Our relationship with her is a perfect example of the communion of saints in which we followers of Christ participate. We ask her to pray for us just as we ask our family and friends on earth to pray for us. In the end, I’m not sure why Our Lady remains unknown and unloved by so many other Christians. It’s as if we could somehow offend God by loving and honoring His mother. I can’t imagine that.

When I think of the young women in the museum, I’m sad for them. At a time in their lives when they’re discovering their feminine identity in the world, it’s a shame they aren’t looking to Mary as a role model. By opening herself to the will of God, a poor Jewish girl brought salvation into the world and became the Queen of heaven. Her humility and obedience to the Creator changed the world. Any young woman who is feeling adrift can look to Mary as a perfect guide. The last words she speaks in Scripture are wonderful advice for all of us: “Do whatever He tells you to”(John 2:5). Teach your daughters (and sons) about the Virgin Mary. Don’t let them journey through their lives without knowing the Mother of Jesus and her love for them.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” — St. Maximilian Kolbe

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Labor Day acknowledgment is this coming Sunday, September 1, 10:30 AM. Labor Day is set aside as a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country. There will be no Sunday School, but there will be a food fellowship following the morning service. You are invited to be there to experience the service and enjoy the food, fellowship and recognize our great country!

Unfortunately, due to scheduling dates, we have postponed our outdoor singing event, but look forward to having this at a later date. We will have Octoberfest at Pleasant Valley on Saturday, October 19th with plenty of food, fun, and family time. Continue to make plans to be with us on this date for a great time together with family and friends.

As always, PVBC had great messages from the Word of God. Pastor Flood is a man of God who loves the Lord, preaches truth and desires to see spiritual growth in his members and for souls to come to know the Lord as Savior. If you are without a church home, PVBC is a wonderful place to hear, learn, and grow. Of course, salvation is the first message from God’s Word one must hear and accept by faith. PVBC is a church where you can feel comfortable, welcome, and know more about God! PVBC is here and wants to be a here for you!

Please pray with us for those with physical needs, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, and many other of which the Lord knows their name and their need. Many extended family members are in need of prayer and ask for them to remembered in your prayers knowing God knows. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for our country/leaders, congress, Israel/America. Remember the border, the Iran/N.Korea/China situations and troubles around the world. Pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved.

Happy birthday wishes to all and to Harry Hullender on the 30th. May God richly bless.

Services are live-streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10 AM, Worship 11 AM, Evening 6 PM with prayer at 5:45 PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth Kid’s Zone meet at 7 PM. Call for transportation 706-537-3633.

You are always expected and welcome! Trusting you will have a great week.

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